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September 22nd, 2011
04:28 AM ET

Talk Back: Should patriotism be a political tool?

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From CNN's Carol Costello:

Presidential hopeful Rick Perry recently came out with a new campaign ad that emphasizes patriotism and strongly states that Perry is "an American."

Within the same ad, Perry bashes President Obama, asserting, "The United States of America really is the really great hope for mankind. It's time to get America working again. We don't need a president who apologizes for America."

Promoting patriotism is a campaign tactic that has proven quite effective in past elections. Remember the infamous "swiftboat" ads by a pro-Bush group that questioned Vietnam veteran John Kerry's heroism? Bush eventually denounced the ads, but the damage was done. Kerry lost the election.

Patriotism has worked for Democrats too. During the 2008 campaign, vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said, wealthy Americans should pay more taxes because "its time to be patriotic."

Talk Back: Should patriotism be a political tool?

Let us know what you think. Your response could be read on our program.

Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Tim Walters

    This could be Rick Perry's "I'm not a witch" moment. Patriotism is fine, but when you picture the United States as a 3rd world nation and blame President Obama for everything, all you are doing is fear mongering, not being patriotic. Fear Mongering might win the Tea Party Vote, but it won't win Perry the Independent vote.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  2. mike

    Samuel Johnson was right when he observed that patriotism is ' the last refuge of a scoundrel' back in April 1775. Nothing much has changed except for Mark Twain expanding the definition to also encompass 'the last resort of a rogue'. Perhaps more apt to the way Perry uses patriotism are the observations that 'If love is blind, patriotism has lost all five senses' and 'Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.'

    We have now reached the conservative nirvana in political discourse where ' extremism in the defence of 'liberty' is no vice has been truncated to 'extremism is no vice.' Bin Laden would agree.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  3. Mary

    Absolutely! If you don't believe in our country I don't believe you should be running it.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  4. Steph

    Why not? We have some candidates saying they are "Christians" to get votes, yet the lie and distort the truth, over and over again. Far from WWJD (what would Jesus do). So if you want to say you are a patriot yet, refuse to work together for the greater good of ALL of America, you work only for those who paid for your campaign and your political party you can. If you sign documents that say how you will vote for before the legislation is even written, you do not represent American nor do you act like the founding fathers who did feel democracy was about compromise.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  5. Randy A.

    How convenient that Rick Perry wants to be a Patriot.
    Has the media forgotten (or at least chosen to ignore or focus less on) the fact the Perry was thinking about withdrawing Texas from the the good old US of A because of his disagreeance on a policy (stimulus spending). He was willing to invoke an outdated provision in the Texas statehoodbid to exhibit his Executive power. He may dance around this fact, but he did comment that he was possibly considering invoking the sucession clause (which is not really a clause, but really a provision to divide Texas into 5 independent states), and possibly creating the new nation of Texas. I guess after education on what the clause actually was and with the advice of his poliitical advisors, he backed away from the claim.

    How Patriotic can you be if you at one time thought you can disown/renounce the spirit of the US constitution and withdraw an entire state from the US over a political difference of opinion, and ironically want to Preside over the Union you wanted to separate or suceed?

    September 22, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  6. Solomon Davis

    Patriotism is inherently a political tool. It is, and has always been, a means of building nationalist fervor, as well as a measuring stick (albeit very subjective) when denouncing one's political opponents, particularly with regards to how greatly their opponents' perception of national ideals are perceived to differ from their own.

    Patriotism can be neither proven nor quantified, making it extremely useful for politicians, since it inspires pride and energizes a base without actually committing to anything. It's a ploy as old as the "glory of Rome."

    September 22, 2011 at 6:01 am |
  7. Albert

    Ah yes, reminds me of the Samuel Johnson quote, "Patriotism is the last vestige of a scoundrel". It's a good thing he's letting us know he's an American patriot. Otherwise I might think his heart was with lets say... Kenya.

    September 22, 2011 at 5:57 am |